Aston Martin to Develop Its First Electric Car
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Aston Martin has set up a venture with Chinese technology group LeEco to jointly develop the British luxury car brand's first electric vehicle, which could come to market in 2018, the companies said on Wednesday.
"It brings Aston Martin's electric car project forward," Aston Martin Chief Executive Andy Palmer said at a news conference in Frankfurt.
The partners plan to develop an electric car based on Aston Martin's Rapide S model. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Lei Ding, co-founder of LeEco's auto division, who previously held senior positions at joint ventures of Volkswagen and General Motors in China, said: "The joint venture is a partnership platform. We can develop future electric vehicles for both parties."
Separately, the new joint venture plans to collaborate with Faraday Future, the startup electric car firm backed by Chinese billionaire Jia Yueting, the companies said.
China's government is promoting electric vehicles to cut the smog that frequently envelops cities, which officials say has helped sales quadruple last year and has turned it into the world's biggest market.
An electric car joint venture of Taiwan's Hon Hai, China's Tencent and China Harmony Auto Holding said this month it was hiring former BMW executive Carsten Breitfeld to lead it.
Harmony Futeng, launched last March, is one of several Chinese tech companies trying to develop "smart" and electric vehicles. These include Alibaba, Baidu and Leshi Internet Information and Technology Corp Beijing, recently rebranded as LeEco.
(Reporting by Edward Taylor; Writing by Ludwig Burger and Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Maria Sheahan)